People Development Is the New Black

Johanna von Sterndorff
September 30, 2021 | 7 min read
Before we look at the reasons why and how to train your employees, it is important to say that any kind of training is useless if it cannot be applied in practice. Otherwise, the new knowledge gained will be very quickly forgotten. Training for training's sake, just to be able to tick off a completed task, will never be effective.

Employees who approach training in this way, without knowing the purpose of why they are taking the training, will also see it as just another “duty” in their working day, that they can tick off. Without a deeper meaning, the conversion into practice will be missed. It is the job of the company to present to their employees a development plan, what goals the company has, what they want to do to attain those goals, how their employees will help the company reach them, and what the company is going to do to enable their employees to help. Training will always play a big part of this, whether it is for growth of the company, part of a development program, adaptation of employees to new conditions or technology, or to train the employee in a specific area or topic. Now, you may be asking yourself, how do you set up meaningful training to benefit both the employer and the employee? How do you adapt it to the needs of the company and the needs of the employee? And can training be tailored to each employee at all?

Who benefits from training?

The answer is “everyone”. Training is a big topic these days and there is probably no company that hasn't tackled it. Training has its pitfalls though; it is expensive and the last thing that you want is for any training to be wasted. Hence what suits one person may not suit another. The other crucial deciding factor is whether you focus the training on junior employees, who may not have as much practical experience, but have acquired knowledge from their studies and are still searching and trying out what would suit them the best in professional life. In comparison, senior employees will have several years of practical experience and will be more likely focusing on a particular topic in more depth or trying out a new project. In the case of a senior employee, progress may not be as visible as it is with a junior employee, where the difference before and after is much more noticeable.

We, at the Simplity group (which includes Iconity), train our data experts according to their individual career plans, which they define together with their superior. It is important for us to know the needs our employees have so we can fully support them in their development. Every role has its specific needs and I won’t list all the specifics of each and individual role here, but instead, I would like to provide you with an example for better understanding.

A senior BI Consultant may want to broaden their architectural skills or refine communication and presentation skills unlike a junior BI Consultant, who needs to gain expertise by participation in various projects. A junior person will need to work on more projects, show professional progress, and be able to work in modelling on his own. On the other hand, a senior consultant may want to improve their people management skills, be part of interesting projects, take more responsibility, or use tools they want to improve in.

Eager employees

One of the advantages today is that employees are enthusiastic to learn new things, develop themselves in different areas to grow their skills in the company. The leadership can use this advantage by offering different training or development programs specific to the employee. Motivating an employee with specific developmental opportunities is a key factor – a happy employee is always much less inclined to leave their current job for a better one if there is an opportunity to develop themself within the company, either through direct training or making learning resources available to them e.g., online courses, research materials, dedicated time for development, and/or internal department training.

While the possibilities are almost infinite, working with the employee on a career plan or a career path might help guide them with where to start and how to proceed within your company. A career plan allows people to determine their skills and interests, to set career goals and to plan the necessary steps and actions to reach them.

From a personal perspective, this kind of plan makes it much easier to find out where you are now, what direction to take, and which steps to make to get to where you want to be. And it is easy to track your development progress step by step.

Different companies – different approaches and possibilities

Obviously, the bigger the company, the bigger the budget and the range of possibilities to educate its employees. Smaller companies might struggle a bit with the scope of possibilities but it doesn’t mean that they have nothing to offer, they just have a different approach. In our upcoming articles we will go deeper into a range of training and employee development options, some based on how we at Iconity manage all this ourselves and across the Simplity group.

Would you like to know more?

Should you be interested in more details about people development right now, or you would like to get a free assessment of your Data Management/Business Intelligence (BI) team, do not hesitate to contact us.

Johanna von Sterndorff
Recruitment Consultant DACH

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